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Adar Poonawalla


ADAR POONAWALLA, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, played a crucial role during the pandemic by manufacturing 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Now he is set to play an equally big role by trying to achieve what would once have been an impossible dream – “a malaria-free world”. The firm says: “Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd is a global leader in vaccine manufacturing, dedicated to providing affordable vaccines worldwide. Present across 170 plus countries, including the US, UK, and Europe, SII holds the distinction of being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. SII’s multifunctional production and one-of-the-largest facility in Manjri, Pune, with an annual capacity of 4 billion doses, has saved over 30 million lives over the years.” Of the 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vac cine manufactured by the Serum Institute dur ing the pandemic, 15 per cent went abroad. The proportion would have been higher but when cremation grounds of India were barely coping with burning the bodies of those who had died from the disease, the Narendra Modi government slapped a temporary ban on the exports of the vaccine.

The Serum Institute and Oxford, which had previously been collaborating on a malaria vac cine, had to put this work to one side during the pandemic, while they focused on produc ing the Covid-19 vaccine in bulk under licence from Astra Zaneca. But now the good news is that the malaria vaccine – R21/Matrix-M™ – that they had been developing looks set to be given full clearance by the World Health Organization. It has crossed a major hurdle by being granted “prequalification status” by WHO. There is every hope it will save millions of lives. Sir Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute, and Lakshmi Mittal and family Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford, explained:

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